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EDITIONS
Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Unionists 'deselect' party whip
Jeffrey Donaldson (right) was chosen ahead of Mr Davis
The Ulster Unionist Party's assembly chief whip has been refused the chance to seek re-election at the next assembly poll.

Ivan Davis, a member for Lagan Valley, was dropped from the party's ticket at a meeting on Wednesday.

The UUP candidates for the next election, which are due to take in May 2003, will be local MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was given special permission by the party to stand, Billy Bell, Nora Beare and Jim Kirkpatrick.

Mr Davis, a strong supporter of party leader David Trimble and a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said he was not surprised by the outcome.

Ivan Davis: UUP Assembly chief whip
Ivan Davis: "This is not a balanced team"

"Before the meeting got under way I was given by certain parties the four names of those who would be selected," he said.

"I have always said they are entitled to their views and I have always stressed that but I can't see it as a balanced team," he said.

Mr Davis suggested both Ms Beare and Mr Kirkpatrick would follow the lead of anti-Agreement Mr Donaldson.

It was his decision to contest the policies of party leader David Trimble at last weekend's Ulster Unionist ruling council meeting which led to Mr Trimble threatening to quit the Northern Ireland Executive if the IRA does not prove he is committed to peace by January.

"I hold those who were there last night in high respect but I think it was definitely a continuation from last year," added Mr Davis.

See also:

21 Sep 02 | N Ireland
19 Sep 02 | N Ireland
30 Aug 02 | N Ireland
22 Aug 02 | N Ireland
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